China’s comprehensive planning committee wrapping up duties

by Mary Grow

On Oct. 23, China Comprehensive Plan Committee members held what might be their final meeting until they review a draft revised comprehensive plan early in 2020.

The Oct. 23 topics were natural resources, farmland and forestry. Two chapters in the 2008 plan remain to be reviewed, those dealing with public facilities and recreation.

Committee members agreed that Kennebec Valley Council of Governments consultant Joel Greenwood should review the final chapters and if he recommends major changes, bring them to a Dec. 4 meeting. If events in the last 11 years don’t justify significant rewording, committee members asked Greenwood to add the chapters to the previously-reviewed sections to complete a draft plan.

The draft would be re-reviewed by the committee and shared with residents. Next, Greenwood said, several state agencies look at the plan before it comes back to the committee to approve a final version to be submitted to town voters.

Topics discussed Oct. 23 included China Lake and other water bodies, deer yards, critical natural areas, farmland, forestry, invasive species (on land and in the water) and regional cooperation to protect natural resources. The China Region Lakes Alliance was cited as an example of regional cooperation.

Committee members Carlaine Bovio and Jeannette Smith said regulations protecting China Lake should be better explained and better enforced. “Some things have been a little bit lenient, and we need to look at that leniency,” Bovio said.

Several topics came back to a point made in earlier meetings: the easiest way to treat different areas differently, when appropriate, would be zoning, but China voters have a reputation for opposing anything involving “the z word.” Other Maine towns have created zones to protect natural resources, residential centers, farmland, forests and other areas where voters think proposed changes need to meet specific standards.


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